PreSonus Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2020


FREE Studio One Premium Add-On Bundle with Purchase of ANY AudioBox!

There’s no better deal than FREE!

Starting now through the end of 2020, get the Studio One Premium Add-On bundle FREE with the purchase of one of the following qualifying products. That’s A $229.80 USD value for FREE!

  • AudioBox 96 USB
  • AudioBox 96 Studio
  • AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle
  • AudioBox 96 USB – 25th Anniversary Edition
  •  AudioBox 96 Studio – 25th Anniversary Edition
  •  AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle
    – 25th Anniversary Edition
  •  AudioBox iOne
  •  AudioBox iTwo
  •  AudioBox iTwo Studio

How to redeem?

All you need to do is purchase and register one of the above qualifying products to your account at my.presonus.com within the qualifying date range (November 27 to December 31, 2020) and the Studio One Premium Add-On Bundle will be automatically added to your account. That’s it!

What all comes with the Studio One Premium Add-On Bundle? 

  • Channel Strip Collection—VT1 and RC500 State-Space Modeled Channel Strips ($49.95 USD Value)
  • Audio Batch Converter—Powerful audio file conversion tool for Studio One ($49.95 USD Value)
  • Tom Brechtlein Drums V1 HD—($49.95 USD Value)
  • PreSonus Studio Grand for Presence XT—($79.95 USD Value)
  • A $229.80 USD value for FREE! 

This offer is available worldwide and runs NOW through December 31, 2020.

Find a PreSonus dealer in the US here. 

Find a PreSonus dealer outside of the US here. 

Instant Rebate on PX-1 and PM-2 Mics!

Shop Microphones NOW!

The deals keep coming…

Now through the end of 2020, get the PX-1 or a pair of PM-2 microphones—for less than $100 USD! 

This offer is available in select countries, starts now, and runs through the end of 2020.

  • To find a dealer in the USA, click here!

  • To find a dealer outside of the USA, click here!

The PreSonus PX-1 cardioid condenser microphone is an ideal solution for recording vocals, guitar, podcasts, and much more. A true side-address, large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the PX-1 features a 25 mm, gold-sputtered capsule designed to provide exceptional clarity throughout its frequency response range. Rugged construction and top-quality performance specifications make the PX-1 large diaphragm microphone an excellent addition for any home recording or streaming studio.

 

Ideal for stereo recordings of acoustic instruments, drum overheads, ensembles, and more, the PreSonus PM-2 stereo microphone set provides the tools you need to create professional results. Each PreSonus PM-2 small-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone is equipped with a ¾” gold-sputtered capsule housed in an ultra-light chassis, making it easier to perfectly position your microphones without fighting gravity. Sold as a sonically matched pair, the PM-2 comes equipped with a stereo bar for XY mic placement. PM-2 microphones can be used together or individually, making them an excellent addition for any home or professional recording environment.

 

The Ultimate TremPan

I never lost faith in the potential of tremolo, even after those opto-based amplitude processors in guitar amps had become quaint. X-Trem rewarded my faith—and it’s about time tremolo joined the 21st century, given that we’re a fifth of the way through it already.

This FX Chain does dual-band standard tremolo, harmonic tremolo, and panning—and because it’s dual-band, the high and low frequencies are processed independently. You can download the Ultimate TremPan FX Chain if you can’t wait, but because of the flexibility, let’s go through the control panel before covering how it works.

Download the Ultimate TremPan FX Chain!

The control panel (Fig. 1) gives multiple ways to configure the effect. The low- and high-frequency bands have identical switches.

 

Figure 1: The TremPan control panel.

  • Trem/Pan – chooses tremolo or panning mode
  • Sync – Syncs to tempo
  • Flip – Reverses the LFO phase, e.g., from positive-going to negative-going sawtooth
  • Bypass – Bypasses a band, so you hear the effect on only the non-bypassed band

Let’s look at the controls. The low- and high-frequency bands have three controls in common.

  • Speed – The sync switch determines whether the LFO speed syncs to tempo or runs free. When running free, the Speed control calibration still shows rhythmic values, but it’s actually continuously variable.
  • Depth – Controls how much the tremolo or panning affects the signal.
  • Shape – Available LFO waveforms are Triangle, Sine, Sawtooth, or Square.

The Hi/Lo Mix control determines the balance of the low- and high-frequency bands. Imaging spreads the low and high bands; when centered, the low and high bands are centered too, and if a band is in panning mode, it pans the full stereo field. Turning this control counter-clockwise moves the low band toward the left and the high band toward the right, while de-emphasizing panning so that when fully counter-clockwise, both bands are acting as tremolos in their respective channels. Turning this control clockwise reverse the action, i.e., when fully clockwise, the high band sounds like a tremolo in the left channel, while the low band sounds like a tremolo in the right channel.

How It Works

 Figure 2 shows the block diagram.

Figure 2: The processors inside the Ultimate TremPan FX Chain.

The Splitter does two splits based on frequency, with a split around 800 Hz. This seems to work well for guitar, but feel free to play around with it (I hope that in some future update, Splitter parameters will be assignable to control panel Macro knobs).

The Mixtools have their gains varied oppositely by the Lo/Hi Mix control to set the proportions of the high and low bands. The Dual pans in the Splits have their Input Balance controlled oppositely by the Imaging knob.

Applications

You have a lot of options, but here are some of my favorites.

  • Different tremolo speeds and waveforms avoid the stereotyped tremolo sound.
  • For EDM tremolo, try two negative-going sawtooths (i.e., don’t enable Flip) with the low band set to 1/8th notes and the high band set to 16th This gives a cool percussive effect.
  • You can do the “harmonic tremolo” effect, as found in some old Fender amps, by setting both modes to tremolo and the same speed, but choosing Flip for one of the bands.
  • Panning the low band back and forth slowly while setting a fairly fast tremolo for the high band gives a wide, interesting imaging effect.

The rhythmically synched effects can make one instrument almost sound like two instruments, working together as a team. This FX Chain can also animate hand percussion tracks by varying where the percussion happens in the stereo field. Have fun with this sucker—it’s time to re-discover amplitude modulation.

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS – Studio One, Notion, PreSonus Sphere and MORE!

Black Friday starts NOW!

Shop Studio One now!

The deal you’ve been waiting for…

Studio One 5 and Notion are both 30% off this week!

This offer excludes EDU licensing—ends November 30, 2020. Available worldwide right out of the PreSonus Shop and at your favorite music retailer.

 

Join Sphere today!

Are you one of those people who believe there’s no such thing as too many gifts under the Christmas tree?

Well, PreSonus Sphere is just for you!We’re celebrating PreSonus Sphere’s first-ever holiday season by offering one free month of Sphere when you purchase an annual subscription! In short, PreSonus Sphere is a complete collection of award-winning software, inspiring content libraries, collaboration tools, cloud storage, weekly live streams, video tutorials, and much more… this offer is available worldwide, starts today and ends November 30, 2020.

Click here to join PreSonus Sphere!

 

Shop NOW!

 

For ONE WEEK only, SAVE 50% on the entire Fat Channel Collection right out of the PreSonus Shop! Buy the individual plug-ins at a discounted price or grab the whole bundle for less than $350 USD.

These plug-ins are virtual signal processors that load in your StudioLive Series III console or rack mixer’s Fat Channel, expanding your Fat Channel processor library much like plug-ins do in a DAW. Each plug-in comes in both StudioLive Series III format and Studio One format so you can use your new processor in both mixer and DAW Fat Channels.

This is a Worldwide offer and available only in the PreSonus Shop. Offer ends November 30, 2020.

 

Buy now through November 30 and save 50% on Notion’s Brass Section Bundle right out of the PreSonus Shop!

This bundle includes the following:

  • Horn section
  • Trombone Section
  • Trumpet Section

 

Click here to shop!

Now for LESS than $100 you get:

  • Bluetooth® 5.0 wireless for mobile use, plus wired connectivity for use with professional devices or when wireless operation is prohibited
  • Active Noise Canceling (ANC) to reduce environmental noise
  • Closed-back, over-ear design for superior isolation
  • Easy-to-use level and track navigation controls
  • 40 mm drivers for studio-quality sound reproduction

Worship Musician‘s Mitch Bohannon says the Eris HD10BTs are, “… superb, authentic and clear!” Read the full review HERE!

This offer is available worldwide, starts now, and runs through the end of 2020.

 

Click here to learn more!

 

Social distancing with the band has never been easier… or more affordable with this offer! Now through the end of the year, buy four EarMix 16Ms and score a FREE SW5E! That’s a $430 USD value for FREE!

Click here to learn more about this deal!

This offer is available worldwide.

  • To find a dealer in the USA, click here!
  • To find a dealer outside of the USA, click here!

 

 

 

 

 

StudioLive Interface Mode has Arrived!

Get the Interface mode Addendum!

StudioLive Interface Mode is here—plus WDM support! 

Universal Control 3.4 has arrived, adding WDM support and Interface Mode to StudioLive Series III mixers! (This update also adds support for Revelator and AVB-D16; Click here for the full release notes) 

Interface Mode is designed to allow the inputs and outputs of your StudioLive mixer to be used like a traditional USB interface, instead of as a mixer with a USB interface that draws from the mixer’s channels and buses. In this configuration, the StudioLive’s USB Returns bypass the mix engine, and instead run directly to the physical, analog outputs on the mixer.

It’s for this reason that Interface Mode makes for a streamlined, DAW-based approach to common tasks like:
  • Re-amping guitars and synths
  • External hardware processing with Studio One’s Pipeline
  • Creating and routing cue mixes from your DAW rather than from the mixer

While this streamlined configuration does not work with a mixer that is in Stage Box or Monitor Mixer Mode, you will still be able to utilize your PreSonus AVB Ecosystem products with Interface Mode. You can still create personal monitor mixes via EarMix16M and connect different rooms with NSB Stage Boxes.

Note that Interface Mode will only affect the USB routing and the analog output sources. It won’t make any changes to the operation of your AVB routing.

Before using Interface Mode or Enhanced WDM Support on your StudioLive Series III, you’ll need to update two things:

  • PreSonus Universal Control 3.4 or later on your Mac or PC. (To get it, Launch Universal Control and choose File  >>  Check for Updates. ) 
  • Your StudioLive Series III mixer’s firmware (to version 2.4 or later. Click here to learn how to do that.)

Interface Mode Quick Start:

To turn on Interface Mode for your mixer from the touch screen of the console mixers

  1. Press the Home button.
  2. Select the System icon.
  3. Then tap the Interface Mode toggle button.
  4. You’ll receive a warning about disabling FlexMixes. Tap OK to continue.

Your FlexMixes will still be there if and when you choose to turn off Interface Mode, or turn an individual mix back on which I’ll go through a little later.

Setting Up Interface Mode Quick Start for UC Surface:

To turn on Interface Mode from UC Surface

  1. Select the gear icon to open the settings menu.
  2. Select Interface Mode.
  3. Just like with the console, you’ll receive a warning about disabling FlexMixes. Tap OK to continue.

That’s it! You’re now in interface mode. To turn Interface Mode off and go back to the default mixer setup just repeat these same steps.

For a deeper dive on Interface Mode and WDM support, download the new Interface Mode Addendum now!

Poly Aftertouch: Ready for Prime Time

 

One of the complaints about electronic music instruments and controllers is that they lack the expressiveness of acoustic instruments. Although future instruments will take advantage of MIDI 2.0’s enhanced expressiveness, two options are available right now: polyphonic pressure, and MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression). Studio One 5 can record/edit both, and ATOM SQ generates polyphonic pressure…so let’s dig deeper.

Language Lesson

 First, there’s some confusion because people call the same function by different names. Channel Aftertouch = Channel Pressure = Mono Aftertouch = Mono Pressure. Polyphonic Aftertouch = Polyphonic Pressure = Poly AT = Poly Aftertouch = Poly Pressure.  Okay! Now we’ve cleared that up.

Aftertouch: Two Flavors

 Aftertouch generates a control signal when you press down on a keyboard key after it’s down, or continue pressing on a percussion pad after striking it. Aftertouch is a variable message, like a mod wheel or footpedal—not a switch. A typical application would be changing filter cutoff, adding modulation, or doing guitar-like pitch bends by pressing on a key.

There are two aftertouch flavors. Mono pressure has been around since the days of the Yamaha DX7, and sends the highest controller value of all keys that are currently being pressed. Polyphonic pressure sends individual pressure messages for each key. For example, when holding down a chord for a brass section, by assigning poly pressure to filter cutoff, you can make just one note brighter by pressing down on its associated key. The other chord notes remain unaffected unless they’re also pressed.

Controllers with polyphonic aftertouch used to be fairly expensive and rare, but that’s changing—as evidenced by ATOM SQ.

Synth Requirements

As expected, you need a synth that responds to poly pressure. Many hardware synths respond to it, even if they don’t generate it. As to soft synths, although I haven’t tested all of the following, they reportedly support poly pressure: several Korg Collection synths, Kontakt, Reaktor, all Arturia instruments, all U-He instruments, XILS-Lab synths, TAL-Sampler, AAS synths, Albino 3, impOSCar2, Mach5, and Omnisphere. If you know of others, feel free to mention them in the comments section below. (Currently, Studio One’s bundled instruments don’t respond to polyphonic aftertouch.)

The Controller

Figure 1: ATOM SQ being set up to generate Poly Pressure messages.

With ATOM SQ, press the Setup button. Hit the lower-left “pressure” button below the display, then spin the dial to choose Poly (Fig. 1). Note that if ATOM SQ outputs poly pressure, most instruments that respond only to channel (mono) aftertouch will ignore these messages.

Recording and Editing

Record poly pressure in Studio One 5 as you would any MIDI controller. To edit pressure messages, use the Edit window’s Note Controller tab. Select Pressure for the Type, and then the Pitch of the note you want to edit. Or, click on a note to select its corresponding note Pitch automatically. You can then edit that note’s poly pressure controller as you would any other controller (Fig. 2).

 

Figure 2: The selected Note’s data is white; unselected notes of the same pitch are blue. The gray lines in the background show the poly pressure controller messages for notes with other pitches.

It may seem that editing data for individual notes would be tedious, and it can be. However, because poly pressure allows for more expressive real-time playing, you might not feel the need to do as much editing anyway—you won’t need to use editing to add expressiveness that you couldn’t add while playing.

A fine point is that it’s currently not possible to copy Note Controller data from one note, then paste it to a note of a different pitch (probably because the whole point of poly AT is for different notes to have different controller data). However, if you copy the note itself to a different pitch, the Note Controller data will go along with it.

Although ATOM SQ can adopt a layout that resembles a keyboard, it would be a mistake to see it as a stripped-down version of a standard keyboard. Controllers with polyphonic pressure tend to think outside the usual keyboard box, by incorporating pads or other transducers that are designed for predictable pressure sensitivity. Poly pressure has been around for a while, but a new generation of MIDI controllers (like ATOM SQ) are making the technology—and the resulting expressiveness—far more accessible for those who want to wring more soul out of their synths.

25% Instant Rebate on PreSonus AIR Loudspeakers

The AIR Loudspeakers have been around for a little while but in case you need a reminder, here’s the launch video we created back in 2017!

 

Truly Amazing. Our Video Team’s best work.

GOOD NEWS!

Now through the rest of 2020, customers in select countries get a 25% instant rebate on all our Air Loudspeaker family!

This offer includes the following:

  • AIR 10
  • AIR 12
  • AIR 15
  • AIR 15s
  • AIR 18s

This offer is running now and ends on December 31, 2020. Check with a PreSonus dealer in your area today.

Click here to learn more about AIR Loudspeakers!

 

 

Click here to find a dealer near you!

 

Streaming: Limiter2 to the Rescue

 

The How to Make Spotify Happy blog post picked up a lot of interest, so let’s take the concept a bit further. Even if you’re not dealing with a streaming service, having consistent listening levels in your music makes sense—especially with a collection of songs. But what happens if a song is compressed for artistic reasons, yet you still want to aim for a standard listening level (streaming or otherwise)?

The beauty of the LUFS specification is that it avoids penalizing those who want to take advantage of dynamic range in their music (jazz, classical, etc.). But not everyone creates music that requires maximum dynamic range. I add about 4 to 6 dB of gain reduction when mastering my music, and aim for -13.0 LUFS, because I like what a little compression does to glue the tracks together. However, I do want the music to be streaming-friendly—and the whole point of this post is that Limiter2 makes it easy to hit both LUFS and True Peak settings recommended by various streaming services.

Fig. 1 shows the screen shot for an exported, pre-mastered song. It has a -18.0 LUFS reading. My goal is -13.0 LUFS, with a true peak value below 0.0.

Figure 1: The initial raw export.

 

To get closer to -13.0 LUFS, let’s start with a Limiter2 Threshold of -5.00, because applying -5.00 dB of gain reduction to -18.00 LUFS should put us somewhere around -13 dB LUFS. To control True Peak, we’ll use Mode A, Fast Attack (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Preliminary Limiter2 settings to reach -13.0 dB LUFS.

 

 

 

We’ve come close to -13.0, but the true peak is well above 0.0. Bringing down the Ceiling by -2 dB puts that 1.6 dB True Peak reading under 0.0 (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: The True Peak is now under 0.0, but the LUFS is a bit lower than desired.

 

We’ve brought down the peaks, but because the output is lower, the perceived level is lower too (-13.5 LUFS). Dropping the threshold by ‑0.7 dB brought the LUFS to -13.0, while maintaining a TP value under 0.0 (Fig. 4).

Figure 4: Bringing the Threshold down to -5.70 gave -13.0 LUFS, and true peak under 0.

 

We can also make streaming services (like Spotify) happy, with -14.0 LUFS and -1.0 TP values (Fig. 5).

Figure 5: Now we’ve met Spotify’s recommended spec, simply by re-adjusting the Threshold and Ceiling.

But suppose you really like to compress stuff, not because you want to win the loudness wars per se, but just because you like that sound. Fair enough—let’s give listeners music with -9.0 LUFS, and not worry about True Peak (Fig. 6).

Figure 6: If you like the sound of compression… go for it!

 

 

But What About the Loudness Wars?

I’m glad you asked. If your music doesn’t meet a streaming service’s specs, they’ll turn it down to an equal perceived level. But what does that sound like?

In the audio example, the first part is of an unmastered song at -9.0 LUFS. It’s fairly loud, and could win at least a skirmish in the loudness wars. The second part is the same unmastered song at -14.0 LUFS, which sounds much quieter.

The third part turns down the -9.0 LUFS section to -14.0 LUFS. Although it has the same overall perceived level as the second part, it sounds compressed, so it has a different character. Bottom line: If you like the sound of compression, a streaming service will not change that sound; it will simply turn down the volume to match material that’s not as compressed. So feel free to use a rational amount of compression—the sound you want will still be there, just at a lower level.

And if you want a higher level…well, that’s why the volume control was invented… right?

River City Session episode 11 with Hitchhiker!

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, PreSonus announced the new River City Sessions performance series earlier this year. The online series features regional artists in the Greater Baton Rouge area performing in PreSonus’ world-class, Walters-Storyk Design Group-designed River City Studio at PreSonus HQ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. COVID-19 restrictions forced us to close the studio to individuals who are not PreSonus employees, so we decided to take these sessions outside! Our latest session (#11 for those keeping track…) features local rocker Luis Manuel and his band The Hitchhiker performing “Glad it’s Not Her, Glad it’s Not You.” Get to know Luis and watch the session below. 

 

Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music for the better part of the last 12-13 years. I learned how to play guitar by ear listening to bands like GNR, Thin Lizzy, The Darkness, ELO. Eventually, I started doing my own acoustic shows, did a few tours around the US with several bands, and then morphed into the Hitchhiker.

How has the music industry changed since your early days? 

I’m sad to say it’s changed a lot! It seems like nobody cares about music as much as they care about how to run clout and pander with it. Maybe I’m just old? Could be, but The Hitchhiker boys can still rip after working 40 hours a week and slamming Jäger bombs.

Describe the first time you wrote a song? Produced it?

The first time was probably back in 2008 with my friend Josie. He really got me pumped about doing my own music. The guy is a musical wizard. The song was likely about my second breakup. Pre and post-production is the most fun part for me. I usually take charge, but the dudes always come up with awesome ideas that we always end up using. I usually write the music and the melody first, always based on mood. Then I bring parts of the rhythm section to Mark. He turns it into a juggernaut. Afterward, we collectively go from there, adding layers of cool. Big rocker guys. Great players. Great friends. Love them to death.

Who has been an influence in your life? 

I have 3-4 spiritual leaders besides my dad. Oh, and Thin LIZZY.

Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?

Yes. Sometimes it’s writer’s block, sometimes it loses the “fun factor” when your band members have a lot of other important things go around. It can be demoralizing, but we’re big boys now! Gotta pay the bills! What keeps me going is that I can’t stop picking up that damn strat I just bought!

What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?

All PreSonus products are very user-friendly, affordable, up to date and durable. Can’t beat that. The staff is phenomenal, all-around great people. They’ve always considered me even though I can’t sing very well and I’m forever grateful to them for that.

How has COVID-19 impacted your music? 

It’s taken money out of my pocket because of lockdowns. I miss live shows, performing, and just enjoying the show! I think everyone can agree about that!

What are your plans for 2021?

Write and certainly release more music with the band. Work my tail off all across the board, be a better man, and love America even more.

 

Listen to The Hitchhiker here! 

 

From Oingo Boingo To The Resident: Bill Jackson Talks Faderports

Foreword by Perry Tee (PreSonus Artist Relations Manager):

2020 has been a year like none other that most of us can remember in our lifetimes. But, we managed to see another Halloween weekend come and go… and true to my own annual tradition, I busted out the Oingo Boingo playlist to honor the songwriting/compositional mastery of Mr. Danny Elfman, along with one of my all-time favorite drummers, Mr. Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez and his quirky approach to propelling all those amazing songs they created in the 80’s.

So, I had the honor of spending time this past NAMM 2020 in Anaheim at our PreSonus Booth with Mr. Bill Jackson, who I discovered was Oingo Boingo’s recording engineer on one of the songs to a hit movie I used to watch ad infinitum back in my youth, Weird Science and all subsequent album releases as well as my go-to end of year holiday film (to this day), Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. We spoke at length about how he’s been using our Faderport line of control surfaces to craft his mixing with total human organic interactivity.

Here then, is what he had to say and much more!


I started working with sound when I was five years old. For Christmas, my parents gave me (what was probably) the first reel-to-reel tape recorder in our town.

During college, I played guitar in bands and also recorded them, as well as other local artists, with a Teac A3340-S. I had no EQ on my Tascam mixer, but I had a Tapco spring reverb.

My career started at Sunset Sound in Hollywood. I started as the runner, but I was always going in early and staying late. Sunset has 3 rooms, and I would go to each room, before the session started and look at every mic, then follow the path through the console and all the outboard gear. These were great engineers, working on projects like Van Halen, Doobie Brothers, Toto, etc. Eventually, I was able to hang out during some of the sessions and the clients got to know me. That led to me getting thrown into a lot of sessions, including some for a solid month of engineering for Prince, Sheila E., and The Time.

I randomly was selected to be the assistant engineer on “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo. When they came back the next week, to record the Dead Man’s Party album, the engineer could not commit to it, so he told Danny Elfman to use me. I recorded every album after that, including the final Live Farewell album.

Danny had also started scoring music for films, and I recorded music for about 12 films with Danny, including recording all of the singing voices for Nightmare Before Christmas.

Around the same time that I started working with Oingo Boingo, I had been recording demos with this producer, Howard Benson. That eventually led to recording and mixing about six major-label albums with Howard, including Bang Tango’s Psycho Café. Howard continues to make records that achieve gold, platinum, and #1 status.

I have probably worked on about 200 albums, in some capacity.

Now, I mix a lot of prime-time network television and a lot of documentaries and have created a space at my house for mixing all of that, as well as recording and mixing albums and singles for independent artists.

So, my PreSonus journey actually started with a music editor, Micha, that I was working with. I noticed that he (and other music editors), would bring in a little box, that sat beside their computer. It had one fader, cool transport control buttons, lots of function buttons and a big blue knob. I asked him about it, and he showed me what it could do. (Music editors, as part of their job, have to present Quicktime mixes to the producers, using the music score from the composer, the way it should sound in the finished mix. This helps the producers decide if they want to keep the music, or make changes to it).

NAMM was just a few weeks away, and by chance, I walked in to the entrance where PreSonus was set up. I was immediately drawn over to what turned out to be an 8-fader version of the single-channel FaderPort that the editors were using. I played around with it and asked a few questions, and when I got home, I ordered one of the first ones available.

What drew me to the FaderPort 8 was the small footprint and low profile. I like having it right in front of my timeline monitor, and it doesn’t block my view, as some new controllers can, and its depth is shallow enough that my monitor can stay completely behind it, but still be close to me. I also loved the price. I don’t think there is anything out there that compares with the FaderPort 8 and FaderPort 16, for the price.

What I like the most about the FaderPort series has to start with the amazing transport controls. Whomever designed this transport is a genius. I am all about minimal movement and conservation of energy. My setup has four monitors, and I divide my movements fairly evenly between my right and left hands.

The tactile feel of the buttons, and the precise layout, which matches where my fingers naturally fall, is awesome. Especially if I am recording overdubs and constantly using the transport controls… I don’t have to move the position of my hand or even look at the controls. It is very ergonomic and natural.

Other features that make my life easier, are the big blue knob that allows me to quickly spin to the next bank of tracks, or move 1 channel at a time. I am always spinning that knob to get the channels that I want to be on the surface. In addition to a Solo Clear button, there is also a Mute Clear button, which will clear the solos and mutes showing on the surface in Pro Tools.

I like that the Audio and Virtual Instrument buttons can be used to switch between the Mix and Edit windows in Pro Tools.

Very convenient are the Latch, Trim, Touch, Write, Off and Read buttons, to change the automation setting of highlighted tracks.

Something that definitely should be mentioned, is that I can choose between Studio One, MCU, HUI, and MIDI Mode, when I set it up to use with my DAW.

I also love that I can adjust the fader sensitivity. I have always had issues with moving faders knowing that I am touching them. The Faderport gives me 7 levels of sensitivity to choose from. Level 6 works perfectly for my fingers.

I can also easily adjust the contrast and brightness of the display to work with my viewing angle.

It comes in handy for recording music, especially how the large Select buttons can become the Arm buttons, in bright red. My average tracking session is about 12-14 tracks of drums and the other live musicians (usually playing along as guide tracks for the drummer). Boingo always recorded that way, with everyone playing live, even if we were only going to keep the drums. I still record like that. It helps the band realize that the tempo and drum parts are right. 

The Faderport 16 especially shines when it comes to mixing for Television. Here’s the workflow/process:

For each episode, my mix tech, Christina, at Sony, sends me the Pro Tools session, which is made from a combination of my template and my FX editor, Mike’s session, and the audio files folder that goes with it. They both have my template, so this is an easy collaboration. Mike has cut in all of the FX and BG tracks, from scratch, but also includes some pre-mixed 5.1 sounds, that I have made from previous episodes, that I sometimes blend into similar scenes in the new episodes. It ends up being a combination of my pre-mix and his new tracks, for these particular scenes. Mike also includes the Foley, which is performed by Robin and Sarah, the Foley walkers that I love at Sony. I asked for them to be on Madam Secretary, and they also created the Foley for other shows I worked on, such as The Goldbergs, and now The Resident.

What is great about the Faderport 16, is that I can easily grab the eight or so background tracks for a scene, and get a quick balance, then I press the Sends button, and (in this case, select Send C) and grab those same faders to add the ambiance reverb to the BGs that I have selected for that scene.

I then press the Pan button, which turns those same faders into left and right panners, that I use to pan the more specific tracks of the BGs, such as typing, paper shuffling, cars, and sirens. If I am just panning a single track, I may grab the blue pan knob to do a traditional knob pan. Any surround panning is accomplished with a touch screen I have, which mimics the surround panner in Pro Tools. I also use the Sends button to send FX to the subchannel, and any of the other 3 reverbs that I use. Even though I am using HUI control, I am able to do all of this. I also have the input meter turned on, as well as the ability to see the fader dB levels in the scribble strip. I also use the VCA button to show and hide my EQ plug-in. The Shift-Track buttons allow me to display the SMPTE (or BPM) onto the strip.

When I started mixing episodic television at my place, I need to be able to work efficiently and fast. I had used other small format controllers, but wanted something different in price and also features.

Having 16 faders available on the surface. I really mean this, when I am mixing backgrounds, it is nice to have the faders spaced relatively close together. I can work faster, grabbing 8-10 faders, and then switching to Sends mode and grabbing the same faders to add ambiance. This works very efficiently for me.

Seeing the track input levels on the FaderPort, as well as the level of the fader, really help during a mix, as well as the other features that I mentioned.

I would love to have a single button for saving. I am saving my session all the time, and it would be great if I could just double-tap on the big blue knob to save my work.

All in all, I love how you guys took a console for everyone and made it work so well with HUI in Pro Tools.

An added bonus of mixing at Jacksonland (my home studio) with the FaderPort 16, is that I already had a personal mix workflow in place when COVID-19 appeared, and have been able to continue working on The Resident, every week while all of us are sequestering ourselves from each other, since I was already mixing in this manner.

More information can be found at Bill Jackson’s website here.